Well I am so happy to say that for 2 Christmases in a row now I have helped out at an orphanage in Cusco! Last year was a dream come true when I got to visit with the Healing House when they delivered presents. This year was even better! I got to organize the entire event! Thanks to a generous donor from Germany, we had 1000 soles to buy gifts for the orphanage and the kids in the plaza! 61 kids (not including the hundred plus of gifts we sent to the plaza!) got to have a Christmas this year! And we bought COOL stuff too! 2 greatest Christmases I've ever had!
How lucky I was to step outside of my front door one day and bump into one of the teachers at the school across the street. We started chatting about how I was interested in teaching English and how the kids needed a supplemental English teacher! Funny how that just works out! So each Thursday afternoon that fall, I'd spend some time with the kids helping them with their pronunciation and learning about their dreams and desires while teaching English! Another wonderful opportunity to teach and learn at the same time here in Peru! I loved when they'd call to me "Miss Chiri"!
January 2013 was wonderful! I started volunteering at Mantay! We did art with the kids during summer break while the Moms got to do yoga. Each Tuesday and Thursday I'd come up with an art project and we'd do it with the kids. Kids and Art? That was way out of my comfort zone but I had a lot of fun doing it! The last class before the kids went back to school, there was a little party. They had gifts for us, made by the Moms! Once the kids were back in school we started giving Reiki to the Mamis. They had become got bored of Yoga each week....and when they wanted a change from Reiki, I started teaching English, Tai Chi and Karate. In September I stepped down from co-ordinating the Mantay project to move to Urubamba full time. Unfortunately there was no one to take my place but still they have lots of volunteers from other organizations. I do miss them all!
I hadn't been in Cusco long before I was taken to the Healing House for a yoga class...best yoga class I've had to date! (thanks Mallory!) I ended up living here for 6 months from Dec. 2012 till June 2013, making all my dreams come true! Healing House is a Not For Profit Organization founded by the amazing Niki Coate! Each Tuesday we offer therapeutic treatments for locals on a donation basis and each Saturday we offer a kids program - free yoga, music, art and healthy snacks for the neighbourhood kids. We offer support to local shelters and orphanages like Mantay and Chaska Wasi. We also offer healing therapies and classes like Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditations, Sound Circles and offer training programs like Reiki, and host many other workshops. It is a beautiful community of like minded people who want to learn, share and grow spiritually. Rooms are available for short term, but most of us end up staying in this magical space for a while!